Guest Article: Weber MasterTouch GBS Premium E-5775
Review of the Weber MasterTouch GBS Premium E-5775
I have followed Gary (@Glitch33) on Twittwer for a little while now. He produces some great cooks but is also great in sharing his opinion on BBQ equiptment and providing help to the BBQ community where he can.
He recently purchased the new Weber MasterTouch so I was delighted when he agreed to write a guest review and share his thoughts.
Phil invited me to write review on my Weber MasterTouch GBS Premium E-5775 so here goes.
I have to make it clear at the outset that I’m a Weber fan and I bought this item myself, albeit with Riverside Garden Centre vouchers generously bought for me by family and friends for a milestone birthday last year. It is my third Weber 57cm kettle and sits alongside my 57cm Weber Smokey Mountain.
I had hoped to buy a Summit Charcoal with the aid of a large cash donation from my bank account and a big discount from Riverside. Unfortunately, the money evaporated during a wonderful holiday and big discounts on Summits remain hard to come by.
I chose the E-5775 because I liked the look of the additional features and it used up the ‘soon to expire’ vouchers. It also came with a £99 Weber Academy BBQ course which was a very nice bonus.
The MasterTouch GBS Premium E-5775 is a new 2019 product and is only available in Europe – I’d love to know why it’s not available in the U.S.
It has some Summit like features that are not available on the rest of the current MasterTouch range. It has a spring-loaded hinged lid, a fuel ring, a heat diffuser and P shaped bottom air vents which give more precise control of air intake for low and slow.
I was also attracted by the stainless steel GBS cooking grate which came with the porcelain sear grate. I had bought the GBS Sear grate and Pizza stone for half price at B&Q last autumn so always planned that upgrade for my existing kettles. The iGrill bracket that screws onto the handle was of less interest but I’ve actually found it really handy.
I wanted something for small scale low and slow because the 57cm WSM is big and consumes quite a lot of fuel.
Putting it Together
Standard assembly instructions are very much in the style of Ikea – pictures and very few words. Having assembled three other Weber items over the years I found it pretty easy to follow but my advice is to double check before you put parts together.
All the components were present including the operating instructions which came in 13 separate manuals, covering the languages of the EU – what a waste of paper!
The only gripes with the build quality and assembly was wheel retainer clips catching on the wheel slightly and the force needed to fit the tubular legs into the bottom of the bowl. It should have been easier but they are a tight fit. Maybe a few drops of washing up liquid would help.
The other fiddly bit is getting the spring-loaded lid hinge bolted to the bowl and the lid. It might be easier with another pair of hands and a better spanner. The challenge is to get the lid to close tightly on the bowl with no gaps. As you tighten to bolts it moves the position slightly and affects the fit. I eventually got it good enough fit, but not perfect.
It would need a more scientific assessment to judge the build quality now that they manufacture in China rather than the U.S.A. My perception is that the pressed steel and porcelain seems lighter and thinner.
The hinged lid is really good. It works very smoothly with very little effort. It very well balanced and only needs one finger to raise and lower. This is a real advantage for me when taking food on and off. Previously I would need to remove the lid and find somewhere to put it. It takes up a lot of room. That problem is solved.
I have found that the lid has a slight gap and it does leak a bit. I convinced myself I would adjust it but concluded it doesn’t really matter. I may put a gasket inside the rim of the lid, but then again, I might not bother unless the gap gets worse.
The lid is easily removed by undoing the wingnut on the hinge. It does enable the use of the Weber rotisserie attachment.
For normal grilling it is the same as any other Weber kettle with the added bonus of the hinged lid and more precise control of bottom vents.
There is a drawback to the lid. I place my chimney on the fuel grate to light it. I don’t think there is sufficient room to have a blazing chimney of fuel there without the risk of melting the lid handle due to the limited clearance. I haven’t risked it yet.
Another strange one is I forgot to open the lid vent a couple of times. That’s purely operator error because I’m programmed to open the vent when I pick the kettle lid up.
This was my first handling of the stainless steel GBS grate. I was surprised how heavy it was but I do like it. The standard electroplated cooking grates are flimsy by comparison and the plating soon wears off and it will rust. I need to upgrade the grates on my other kettles. There are also some third-party cooking grates that look like good options.
The other unique operational feature for a MasterTouch is the low and slow smoke setting with the fuel ring and heat diffuser. In theory, it seems like a great idea but after a couple of runs, I think it does have some drawbacks.
There is no easy way to check or add extra fuel in smoking mode without removing the cooking grate and water/drip tray and the diffuser. In mid-cook, this is a pain and you need somewhere to put them.
The instructions suggest 45-50 coals are placed in the char ring. Don’t think this is enough for a long cook of say, 6+ hours. I tried around 75. The char ring is shallow but will take a double layer of Heat Beads. The diffuser sits over the ring and is supposed to sit flat. I had trouble getting the briquettes flat enough and even more trouble fitting wood chunks in. First time I ended up using chips instead of chunks.
With the diffuser so close to the coals it gets very hot. It is a heavy piece of metal though and seems capable of taking it. When adding the water filled drip tray on top of the diffuser it is close to the cooking grate and it ends up boiling away creating lots of steam right under the meat. It all seems too close together. In a WSM there is much more distance between coals and water pan and the cooking grates. The aim of the diffuser is to deflect the direct heat up around the sides (much like the water pan on the WSM) and up over the meat. I had to keep the water regularly topped up, it plays an important part in absorbing and stabilising the direct heat from under the diffuser.
Weber have tried to squeeze the Summit-like features into the standard kettle bowl and it all ends up rather cramped.
However, despite those adverse observations, it did hold its temps between 225f to 300f (lid thermometer). It varied because I had to leave the house a couple of times but the beef ribs were excellent.
On the second try in smoke mode, I did manage to get some wood chunks in but still having trouble keeping the diffuser clear. I had a few temp fluctuations but this time the coals did not burn so evenly, tending to burn one side rather than evenly from the centre. The same problem can happen on the WSM. I had to take the cooking grate and diffuser off to move the remaining coals to the centre and add some additional unlit briquettes. Again, it needed regular top-ups of water and I was very happy with the whole shoulder of lamb.
So, is it worth paying the extra for this top of the range Master-Touch?
The retail price of the 2019 Master-Touch GBS Premium E-5775 57cm is £369
The retail price of the 2019 Master-Touch GBS E-5755 57cm is £299
The older 2018 MasterTouch GBS has a retail price is £269
With current discounts at the time of writing they are £332, £269 and £229 respectively.
The 2019 models have the stainless GBS cooking grate, the older one has the triple plated version. Stainless is better in my opinion, it should last forever. Plating wears off and will eventually rust.
If buying as a separate accessory (which I might do for my other Master-Touch) the Stainless GBS grate costs £64.99 versus £49.99 for the plated version. Easy choice I think.
Other than the stainless cooking grate and the handy iGrill bracket (can you buy these separately?) there is no other difference between the 2018 model and the equivalent 2019 model.
With the Premium, you get the hinged lid which I think is a great addition. You also get a GBS sear grate included, worth £49.99, the iGrill bracket, stainless GBS cooking grill and the smoke equipment (char ring, diffuser, P shaped bottom vents and ‘smoke’ setting).
At current discounted prices that’s £103 (45%) difference between the 2018 model and the 2019 Premium model. I would seriously consider the older model and add an alternative low and slow option like Slow ‘N Sear if you want to do small scale smoking and can live without the hinged lid. Slow n Sear looks much easier to manage but I’ve done 9+ hour cooks using snake/fuse method albeit being a bit more hit and miss.
So when the 2018 model disappears would you splash out for the E-5775 or the stick with the cheaper E-5755? Now it becomes a trickier choice. For the £63 (current discount) difference the higher spec model looks more attractive. You get a sear grate worth £49 (RRP) the hinged lid (what’s that worth?) and the smoke paraphernalia. Upgrading the E-5755 with a GBS sear grate and a Slow ‘N Sear is going to set you back £150 making it more expensive than the Premium.
I would go for the E-5775 and live with the constraints of the Weber smoke system. I would reluctantly follow the Weber recommendation of using less briquettes and accept I may have to top up the fuel if I’m cooking longer than 5 hours. The hinged lid will outweigh the smoke ‘drawback’.
If you really value smoking over grilling then get a purpose-built smoker.
What would I change on the Premium model? Maybe they need a Slow ‘N Sear type set up and I wish Weber would provide a grommet for feeding temp cables into the bowl and perhaps even an adaptor for a fan so I could use my CyberQ to control the grate temperature.
Overall, I’m happy with my new Master-Touch GBS Premium E-5775. It fitted my (voucher) budget at the time and I got a Weber Academy cooking course as a bonus. It has some good features like the lid.
I will perfect small-scale smoking on it and I’ve got the benefit of the GBS system. It’s not a Summit of course but you’ll be surprised what you can do with the other charcoal grills in the Weber range.
Follow me on Twitter @Glitch33.
I’ll happily answer any questions.